Defence Ministry approves Rs 700 Cr budget for procuring drones
The Defence Ministry has announced a new Rs 28,732 crore budget for procurement of military equipment, including a Rs 700 crore plan to purchase swarm drones. The Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) noted that drones have been a force multiplier for combats around the world.
As reported by the Times of India, the DAC's approval of this procurement budget is the first step in the larger arms procurement procedure for the Indian military. These approvals, in particular, will be used for different projects under the Buy-Indian IDDM (indigenously designed, developed and manufactured) and Buy (Indian) categories.
The DAC proposed the Rs 700 crore budget for “autonomous surveillance and armed drone swarms.”
The armed forces already have partnerships with multiple indigenous drone manufacturers. Earlier this week, Garuda Aerospace announced a pilot for surveillance and beyond visual line of sight operations to deliver packages containing supplies and medicines in high-altitude areas. Similarly, Sagar Defence Engineering piloted India's first passenger drone in front of PM Modi last week.
The Rs 700 crore budget will reportedly not be spent anytime soon, as the Indian drone industry is still building supply capabilities to match that level of demand. In the last year, the entire drone industry supplied products and services worth Rs 80 crore, although that number is expected to grow multiple times in the next few years.